Staffing issues continue to be a problem in big and small businesses

Hampden County

Help Wanted: The Unemployment Crisis

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s not just the small companies struggling to get workers, it’s the larger ones too.

A year ago, 22 million Americans lost their jobs. Today, more than 15 million jobs have returned but just because jobs are available, doesn’t mean they are being filled. Help wanted signs are everywhere as the nation deals with the ongoing labor shortage and no matter the company, staffing issues remain.

Tim Noonan has been with Noonan Energy in Springfield for 12 years. He said this has been the hardest time finding people to fill positions since he’s been with the company, “We are constantly looking for service techs and there is just not a lot of them out there. I think the average age for a service tech is in the mid 50’s industry-wide.”

Noonan said he’s had to turndown jobs, especially if they are not already customers because there aren’t enough employees to do the job. The company is always actively looking to hire recent graduates, especially from Springfield Technical Community College where students get hands-on training from its STEM programs. However, they can’t just go into the industry right away. There’s a lot of training involved which takes time.

“We have hired some people from STCC in the past and we will continue to do that but it takes a while for them to get trained and up to standards where they can do things on their own,” said Noonan.

STCC was recently awarded more than $7.3 million in federal grants to help create programs and increase career opportunities in the STEM field. Congressman Richard Neal said STEM education is vital to not only getting people back to work, but it helps students find work out of college.

Congressman Neal told 22News, “A lot of them are in the very fields that we are taking about today, advanced manufacturing. And no one does it better than STCC.”

The state’s unemployment rate in August increased to 5 percent. That is an improvement from last June when it was at 16 percent.

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